A teacher journal - musings on students, lessons, good days, bad ones...
28 July 2006
Du Fu's Thatched Cottage
Du Fu was a Tang Dynasty poet (712-770), who was actually born in a different province, but left to travel around CHina. He was captured by rebels and he eventually fled to Chengdu, where he lived in a thatched cottage for four years, where he wrote more than 200 poems. It's actually a park, with lots of walkways, a beautiful pond and a tea garden. There was a big pagoda called the Ten Thousand Buddha Tower, and some really interesting statues that may have been petrified wood, may have been some kind of stone or wood, but were at least pretty cool.
It was really pretty there, but it was so hot that day it was sort of hard to enjoy the day. I wandered around with another Fulbrighter for most of the day, and then towards the end of the afternoon, we sat and had popsicles (yes, we each had two) in the tea house.
Song of the Autumn Wind and the Straw Hut
An autumn wind ripped clear Three Layers of Thatch from my hut Spreading it over the river, Along the banks, into the marsh Or driving it up into branches Of tall trees.
Over from the south village ran A bunch of boys, seeing me old And feeble, stealing the thatch In front of my eyes; hauling it off to their bamboo grove, I shouting at them until my mouth Was dry, throat sore; then Going inside with a sigh, leaning On my stick; the gale stopped But black clouds gathered Hastening the night.
I looked at my bedding quilt, now As cold as iron, all torn with The restless feet of my children; Rain streamed through the roof Like unbroken strings of hemp Drenching all, and I pondered on How much sleep I had lost since This rebellion began, hoping The night would pass swiftly Wondering in my dream whether It would be possible to build An immense house with thousands Of rooms, where all who needed Could take shelter; a mansion As solid as a hill, not fearing Wind or rain; then thinking how If only such could be, Would I be content to see my poor hut Demolished with I myself Frozen to death.